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Constraints on possible age spreads within young massive clusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud

, : Constraints on possible age spreads within young massive clusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters 431(1): L122-L126

Recent studies have shown that the observed main-sequence turn-off (MSTO) incolour-magnitude diagrams of intermediate age (1-2 Gyr) clusters in the LMC arebroader than would be nominally expected for a simple stellar population. Thishas led to the suggestion that such clusters may host multiple stellarpopulations, with age spreads of 100-500 Myr. However, at intermediate ages,spreads of this magnitude are difficult to discern and alternative explanationshave been put forward (e.g., stellar rotation, interacting binaries). Aprediction of the age-spread scenario is that younger clusters in the LMC, withsimilar masses and radii, should also show significant age spreads. In youngerclusters (i.e., 40-300 Myr) such large age spreads should be readily apparent.We present an analysis of the colour-magnitude diagrams of two massive youngclusters in the LMC (NGC 1856 and NGC 1866) and show that neither have suchlarge age spreads, in fact, both are consistent with a single burst ofstar-formation (sigma(age) < 35 Myr). This leads us to conclude that either theintermediate age clusters in the LMC are somehow special or that the broadenedMSTOs are not due to an age spread within the clusters.


DOI: 10.1093/mnrasl/slt024

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